When Rockstar Games in 2005 shipped an installment of its Grand Theft Auto videogame series with an embedded, but hidden, sex scene, an international controversy ensued, with Wal Mart, Target and other retailers pulling the game from shelves and the nation of Australia outright banning it. Since then there have been several hooker scandals, including those involving Congressmen David Vitter and Duke Cunningham and of course former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Two seasons of the stripper-suffused series Sopranos came and went on HBO. The Times decided we were fast becoming a nation of whores. And now the new GTA is out, and the sex scenes, mostly involving prostitutes and strippers, go graphically and erotically far beyond the 2005 game, and aren't even hidden. (Video after the jump.)

Instead of a backlash, the game got a gushing Times review that called the new GTA IV an "exhilarating, lusciously dystopian rendition of New York City... a simultaneously adoring and insightful take on modern America." It probably helps that "all of the content in Grand Theft Auto IV, including the sex scenes, were seen by an industry ratings body before the game went on sale," according to the Wall Street Journal.

I guess the paper didn't mind the line, "Fuck the shit out of it you nasty fucker," delivered during a car sex scene by one of the game's prostitutes. Not that most people who play the game will mind, either.

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Here's a brief roundup of sex scenes from the game, culled from a longer video posted to Boinkology, which sourced it from IGN.

(And, no, this post has nothing to do with the ad campaign now running on Gawker, just for the record.)

[Boinkology]